MCC Blog March 31, 2017

Why, in the world, does my faith matter? That is the question keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Bill Barter asked 130 people of faith who gathered in Augusta on March 27 and 28 for Interfaith Advocacy Days.  I have added the commas to his question to emphasize the beauty and power of his double entendre: “Why in the world?” is a question that asks, almost in exasperation, if there is any reason on earth that faith matters at all.  “Why, in the world, does my faith matter?” asks about the places where faith collides with real-world issues like hunger, poverty, climate justice, health care, and homelessness.  Both questions were asked—and answered—during this powerfully inspirational two-day symposium hosted by Maine Council of Churches, Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, and Preble Street Faith Action Network and co-sponsored by Capital Area Multifaith Association, Faith Linking In Action-Bangor, Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network, and Winthrop Area Ministerial Association.
From the opening worship service, through the keynote address, the workshops hosted by policy experts and theologians, an interfaith panel discussion, lobbying of legislators in the halls of the State House, filling the gallery of the House to be recognized by Speaker Sara Gideon, and standing in silent protest outside Governor LePage’s press conference on welfare reform as we held up signs reading “I support a moral budget,” every moment of these advocacy days was imbued with hope, commitment, and a vision of the future where justice, compassion and peace more fully shape life together here in Maine for all of us.  For there is, as Dr. Barter reminded us, no “them” and “us”—we are all “us.”

As we move forward together in the days ahead, looking for how, in the world, our faith matters, we will testify about policies affecting the poor, the outcast, the stranger, those without hope, those without a voice, and we will do so as a profession of our faith.

During the opening worship service on March 27, we prayed that God might bless us “with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.”  Having witnessed the faith and dedication of all those who participated in this transformational event, I am convinced that we have, indeed, been blessed, blessed and called by God to this holy work of seeking common ground and working for the common good.  I pray that you will join us.

Rev. Jane Field
Executive Director